Adidas, Carbon, and Oechsler have really been in the lead in 3D printing shoes. But, New Balance, Nike and others have tried, as well. It looks like the sneaker heads will have access to many more 3D printed shoes in the future, including those from (not surprising) Reebook and (very surprising) Dior.
Reebok Teams with BOTTER
Painfully hip Parisian brand BOTTER is working with Reebok on the Venus Comb Murex Shell shoe. Creatively manifested by Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, the shoe´s form is based on murex sea shells, while the colors herald from the Caribbean. The shoes are 3D printed on HP´s Multi Jet Fusion equipment, which marks another win for the firm in footwear, which has so far included 3D printed orthotics and sustainable soles.
“The Reebok x Botter Sneaker is an opening of a wonderful project, The new partnership with HP 3D Printing aims to create product that sits at the intersection of innovation, sustainability and luxury and this is just the first step.”
Reebok´s involvement is, of course, very positive, as it brings in the Authentic Brands Group, which owns Vision, Nautica and Spider and, in so doing, could spread 3D printing expertise even further. BOTTER may not be a household name, but its antics, vision, and thinking get the designerati´s tongues wagging. Sustainability forward and helmed by a Dutch duo with international routes and inspirations, the company is building quite a heritage with its collections and thinking. Of the up and coming set, BOTTER is a beautiful choice to work with and I cannot think of wanting to partner with anyone more than they. This move will go far in making 3D printing more relevant to indy, cutting edge, and new designers.
Dior Debuts 3D Printed Shoes
Another move, more likely to be notable to a more established set, is Dior´s efforts to join the 3D printing shoe game. Of course, we must not forget that Erpro has been 3D printing a million Chanel mascara brushes a month for a few years now. This has validated 3D printing for a certain kind of luxury goods company. Givenchy also recently 3D printed some sunglasses and both Dior and Givenchy are owned by luxury goods giant LVMH. LVMH´s increasinglu familiarity with 3D printing could be huge in itself as the company also owns brands like luggage maker Rimowa, Tag Heuer, yacht builder Royal van Lent, and jewelry maker Tiffany. We know that 3D printing is spreading throughout the luxury goods industry at a rapid rate. However, additive manufacturing has so far been a dirty trade secret and not something to brag about. Given LVMH´s size and reach, further involvement could expand our relevance and market.
For now, Dior has printed concrete pop ups stores and now shoes. The brand has looked at updating a classic shoe design the, Darby with 3D printing. The shoes were showcased at the brands Fall Winter 2023 runway show and presentation at Paris Fashion Week. There are two models a low cut classic Darby shoe and a mid length boot. The shoes are entirely made using 3D printing. Unveiled at the same time as the BOTTER shoes, this could really give 3D printing critical mass in the high design fashion world. Yes, we’ve been around fashion wold for a few years now. However, such different 3D printed shoes from an established house and and a new firm at the same time is sure to make the technology much more relevant than previously.
We could be going from a situation whereby some would 3D print shoes to one where everyone would like to try the technology now. This is a great thing for our industry. I’ve been very skeptical about 3D printed footwear, but do think that in specialized limited editions to create much more comfortable footwear, AM could really be an advantageous production process. I really think that, ultimately, fully customized dynamic gradient soles are the one thing that can really set the technology apart, but I’ll take any progress wherever it matters.